My late father always cautioned me never to get into a vigorous debate with a skunk. So for most of my life as columnist, I have moderated my penned language, trying to stick to the facts, hoping opposition to my views will result in reasonable dialogue.
Why not? Wasn't America built on such principles? The marketplace for ideas and opinions has long been a benchmark phrase in my mind. Let the best ideas and reasoned debate govern outcomes.
But somehow, when any major policy issue gets fully launched into the mass media and really has a realistic chance of being decided, legislatively or judicially—such as abortion, gay marriage, or now real immigration reform—the mudslinging and irrational thinking gets into full gear! For some, as recent history shows, go beyond angry words to murder.
The question remains: how should the USA best reform its broken immigration system?
When major moderate voices such as Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), the Center for Immigration Studies and NumbersUSA weigh in, the response from those who wish to import more immigrants was for a time at least bordering on the rational.
Examples abound of the type of reasonable questions one could ask. Do we need more engineers? How many work visas are necessary? How does this massive 50 year intake of immigrants, both legal and illegal benefit our nation? The solid research on all of those questions show decisively that the answers are NO!
The above named voices and others calling for real patriotic reform have enjoyed the support of a vast majority of Americans for some time. But these same Americans have unfortunately elected to public office representatives who are simply not listening, or at least not acting in our interest, because of political pressure and the money which is needed to keep their seats.
Now we citizens are, as Lincoln said, "engaged in a great civil war, testing whether a nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure". The very freedoms which the Emancipation Proclamation proclaimed are again up for dispute.
Do we citizens want to keep importing slave labor so our population swells to 500 million by 2050 or one billion by 2100?
Do we want our tax dollars going to pay for services for the legal and illegal aliens that the cheap labor-importing businesses, the ethnic and religious advocacy groups, want at the expense of the rest of us?
Do we care that our cultural heritage based on the Rule of Law continues to be broken by those same greedy, self interested folks who have paid big money to elect our Congress and the White House?
There are many more obvious questions I could add, but you get the point.
Why not immediately extend E verify? Why not make sure Real ID is fully implemented? Why not amend our Constitution or pass an appropriate law to eliminate anchor babies? Why not stop allowing aliens the use of our hospital emergency rooms as their primary care facilities causing many hospitals to close? Why not use legal ID to foreclose employment to those here illegally, thus allowing a gradual ebbing of the 20 million or more illegal aliens now here, so they return to their native places?
What are the arguments for not stopping this huge flow of legal and illegal aliens?
The reason for the growing spate of hateful characterizations against those main stream voices who are leading the fight to achieve real immigration reform now comes abundantly very clear.
Those who benefit from this continuing invasion of both legal and illegal aliens are fighting tooth and nail to keep the status quo. Their only real argument now is to call reputable people, who have presented overwhelming, carefully reasoned evidence on the urgent need for real immigration reform, racists, nativists, and xenophobes.
Just keeping up such a cacophony of hate language must be a bit tiring. And judging from the volume it must be costing a bundle of money.
Leah Durant, Executive Director of Progressives for Immigration Reform , recently sent out to the media the results of PFIR's newly released poll , which demonstrates that liberals are concerned about the current levels of immigration into the United States and the harmful effect that current immigration policies are having on U.S. population growth, the environment, and the availability of jobs.
The poll was conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC in April 2009. Key findings from this poll revealed:
Sixty seven percent of liberals and progressives felt the level of population growth caused by immigration negatively impacts the quality of life in the United States.
Fifty eight percent felt that the current levels of immigration are harmful to the environment.
Sixty three percent said that current levels of immigration hurts job prospects for American workers.
With regard to undocumented workers already here, the poll revealed that self-identified liberals are split over whether illegal immigrants should be offered an amnesty. Fifty three percent were in support of a pathway to citizenship and forty five percent were opposed. [See full survey results here.]
Mrs. Durant noted:
"The results of this poll demonstrate what many on the political left have known for some time. Immigration is not a partisan issue. There are many progressives and liberals that are concerned about the unintended consequences that large scale immigration has on the environment, economy, and other issues that many liberals are concerned about. It is time to take this issue off the back burner. We need to talk frankly about the effects of immigration and find solutions that benefit both Americans and the global community."
Let's get with it, folks. There are vast numbers of us, Democrats, Independents, and Republicans who are basically progressive in our views. We can read, think and act on the facts and the facts are crystal clear. Our country has not gained from this vast immigrant invasion beginning with the law changes of 1965.
Exemplifying this consensus from all quarters of our citizenry is a new book written by a devout member of a Catholic religious order in Covington, Ky., Father Patrick Bascio, entitled aMAZON The Immorality of Illegal Immigration: An Alternative Christian View.
The author takes great care to keep his tone moderate and his facts clear and accurate. He shows powerful chutzpah in confronting his church. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and numerous American cardinals seem ever anxious to open all borders and bring in any number of aliens, legal or illegal.
Most impressive is the quality of Bascio's research. The book's 12 chapters, like the famous 12 Steps to recovery from alcoholism, list the problems. Painstakingly and with clear, incisive prose, he offers constructive suggestions for solving this poisonous problem created by decades of bad policy and greed.
Father Pat, as he dubs himself, writes: "I believe that the Christian Church, both here and abroad ... currently favors an immigration policy that favors those who violate our laws rather than enter the legal process that leads to legal immigration."
If our government ignores the rule of law, the decline and fall of stability and democracy as our republic has revered it will surely follow. As Bascio bravely notes, the Catholic Church has, in connection with this issue, frequently recommended to its priests that they break the law.
Importation of smart foreigners by Silicon Valley and others—U.S. colleges and universities gain enormous income from this process and fight tooth and nail against any restrictions that would keep them out, making fewer places for bright American youngsters—also causes a brain drain on their native lands. But instead of helping our poorest join the system, we put more pressure on, for example, many in the black community.
Bascio understands well that there are no jobs Americans won't do for decent wages. But the hue and cry for importing slaves has been effectively sold to Congress (i.e., for campaign contributions) by businesses fronted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other minority advocacy groups. The super-rich CEOs earning 400 times the average wage of their employees continue to game the system for their benefit.
Bascio's book is important not just because he is speaking as a Christian but because he is speaking to all Americans who believe in the rule of law and the stability of our republican government. His exposition of what happens when a nation slips into balkanization is critical reading for anyone who cares for his country, children and grandchildren.
While this book offers a vital and comprehensive view of the out-of-control illegal immigration crisis, the legal immigration invasion, which Bascio refers to at several points, is actually more serious. Our federal government is allowing in more than 100,000 legal immigrants every month when more than 6 million citizens are out of work and monthly jobs losses since fall 2008 have averaged more than 500,000.
As long as such immoral behavior is tolerated, the 12 steps to sobriety in immigration reform will go a-glimmering.
With the kind of "speaking truth to power" Bascio has shown, as we progressives, who will be the ones who can basically be the swing voters which can help America win this critical debate, should stop playing a silent middle of the road role, fearful of being called names, and come out swinging for real immigration reform.
We are the main stream of America—all of us citizens, of every faith and ethnicity who see the dismal facts of how this issue has been politicized, bowdlerized, and bastardized by the special interest haters. We must be willing to stand up for what is right and fair.
Donald A. Collins [email him], is a freelance writer living in Washington DC and a former long time member of the board of FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform. His views are his own.